It’s All in the Ask. How to Get the Professional Support You Need Right Now

“The truth is, if you can’t pitch, you will not get the support you need,” said Debi Kleiman, seasoned marketer, educator and entrepreneur, who now leads the Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College. Most people don’t know how to ask for what they want. Yet, connection to that job, mentor, advisor or investor, comes down to how you ask. And many of us hate asking for support! Even when there’s a mutual value exchange.

As millions reinvent in this pandemic, support for your work or business, will mean building relationships in new ways. Debi, my former colleague and friend, distills the fine art of professional persuasion in her new book, First Pitch! Winning Money, Mentors and More for your Start-Up. When she began teaching, she couldn’t find resources on this topic for her students. She said, “It made me sad that to think there were people who were not being heard in the world because Continue reading “It’s All in the Ask. How to Get the Professional Support You Need Right Now”

Unsupported At Work? Now is The Perfect Time to Change It

We had a seriously ill patient who was under the influence of multiple substances. I should never have gone into the office alone with him but in the moment, I wanted to contain the situation. I kept waiting for him to assault me. At one point he turned his back and I quickly texted ‘help’ to a colleague. She was able to distract him long enough for us to get out,” explained Dr. Nicole C. Brathwaite, Psychiatrist, Activist and Entrepreneur. This traumatic experience at work led Nicole to a brilliant idea and career reset.

Our wellbeing is always at stake regardless of the work we do. And, when we’re passionate about our careers, we’re willing to invest. But it’s easy to slip from service into self-sacrifice without noticing. Even the most enlightened Continue reading “Unsupported At Work? Now is The Perfect Time to Change It”

Is the Pandemic Your Portal Out of Corporate Life?

“Being a mother kind of makes you adept at juggling things. A lot of our clients are parents and are also in the situation where they’re juggling everything. So, it’s been, ‘oh you’re juggling? I’m juggling too. Alright, let’s juggle together,’” said Quiana Agbai former corporate marketer, turned Entrepreneur, Activist and Social Connector.

We had to fight to grow our careers long before the pandemic. Now, school, work and meals have tumbled into our homes without the supports that made it doable. Which makes the wealth and wage gaps that much harder to close. Professional flexibility, once a luxury, has become critical in quarantine. Millions have lost jobs and everything about how work gets done is shifting. But change, even when it’s crisis-driven, creates new opportunities. It may not follow the plan but it’s possible to Continue reading “Is the Pandemic Your Portal Out of Corporate Life?”

Novel Ways to Enrich Your Family and Business at the Same Time

“My son and his friend came home from school and as we all do, I asked, ‘how was your day?’ as usual they quickly replied ‘good’ followed by ‘boring’ and then headed to the kitchen for a snack,” said Debbie Raisner Thompson. A serial entrepreneur, she shared the dilemma most Moms with school-aged children face, the dreaded one-word response.

Debbie had recently been certified to teach English and was home preparing to teach a class on opposites. She said, “I had just finished writing opposite words on colored popsicle sticks, when my son and his friend got home.” Inspired while cleaning the sticks, she asked them to tell a story from their day using one of the words on the sticks. Debbie said, “While they were eating their snack, my son’s friend said, ‘if my mom did this, I would tell her a story every day.’ My son agreed, adding, ‘you should try this with the girls when they get home.’” When Debbie’s daughters came home she said, “it was the same thing, the reaction was really great!” They kept a set of sticks on their table and made extra sets for friends to try. It sparked an ongoing conversation.

Enlist Family Support From the Start

Moms who are blessed with creative ideas rarely explore their commercial potential. The myriad of steps and costs, to move from fuzzy concept to Continue reading “Novel Ways to Enrich Your Family and Business at the Same Time”

How To Find Bravery in a Culture of Perfectionism

A book review for Reshma Saujani’s Brave Not Perfect

What have you perfected? Whether it’s cartwheels, your backhand or public speaking, there’s a good chance you put in serious time to get great. Pre-kids, decent sleep, plus will and attention, can lead to mastery. But after kids, when our rest and thoughts are constantly interrupted, new pursuits can feel impossible. We’re not alone in feeling this way. Perfectionism is a slippery, unattainable bar, we’re taught to seek. Motherhood puts more at risk and we loose that desire to stumble. Possibly even fail. We double-down on trying to get everything ‘right’ at home and work.

Reshma Saujani, Author and CEO of Girls Who Code, gave an amazing talk at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference which lead me to devour her book, Brave Not Perfect. She eloquently states the problem, “We go from trying to be perfect students and daughters, to perfect professionals, perfect girlfriends, perfect wives and perfect mommies. …Hitting all the marks we’re supposed to and Continue reading “How To Find Bravery in a Culture of Perfectionism”

How to Build Your Tribe, Ask For Help & Pursue Your Big Idea!

“My Mother-In-Law said, ‘I got you something.’ I just remember going through it and getting nervous, it was a big bag of boy clothes, so much blue and navy! I told her, ‘Ma you can’t return any of these, I don’t know if it’s a boy or girl.’ My Mother-In-Law then informed me, ‘It’s a boy.’” Kim wasn’t convinced and asked, “‘Do you want to put money on it?’ Her Mother-In-Law replied, ‘…yeah, I’ll put money on it!’” The friendly wager led Kim Jolasun towards a big idea. To modernize how we announce, celebrate and support new babies.

Nurture Your Idea

With kids, entrepreneurial pursuits can be scary. The time and income are usually unpredictable. And little humans are expensive! But Kim, while pregnant with her first, chose entrepreneurism in a new industry and city. How? She negotiated a reduced work schedule then invested in professional development and self-care by asking for help. Ambition feels inconsistent with hands-on Motherhood in most fields. So more women, seeking growth and flexibility, Continue reading “How to Build Your Tribe, Ask For Help & Pursue Your Big Idea!”

Do You Know How Motherhood Helps Your Career?

That’s Right. There’s Upside to the Work/Life Juggle!

“I didn’t realize it would be psychologically painful. It surprised me, how it would all feel, going back to work when my child was 2 months old,” Said Dr. Yael Schonbrun, Clinical Psychologist, Author and Co-host of the Psychologists Off the Clock podcast. 

The hard parts of working Motherhood are felt immediately. Within hours of returning to work, we fight to compartmentalize. We think about what our kids and our jobs need. All. Day. Long. Even if it were possible, just trying to quiet that inner dialogue, feels disloyal. As if we’re trying to make Motherhood’s messy emotions smaller. Less demanding. Work, once a refuge, begins to fragment us.

What about the sunny side? We rarely think about the Continue reading “Do You Know How Motherhood Helps Your Career?”

How to Find Your Path and Embrace the Detours

Did you choose the career you really wanted?

“My entire professional life has been very accidental,” said Julie Wittes Schlack, my friend and former colleague. We met to discuss the unconventional path that led to her career and new book. She was an instructional designer, turned business leader, activist and author.

It can take years to reconcile the assumptions we have about work. Many of us follow outdated rules or well-meaning parents into careers that don’t fit. Julie’s upbringing, however, encouraged bold choices. She shared, “My father was trying to be a good provider while hating every fucking second of it. My parents realized they needed a more meaningful life and left Montreal to reinvent themselves.” I laughed. She added, “… Well into my adulthood I realized not everyone reinvents their lives in their late thirties! It was the greatest gift they could give.”

Julie, blessed with many talents and interests, kept open to serendipity. Ignoring mainstream career advice feels rebellious. But if the ideal career is where aptitude, meets passion and purpose, how do we find it?

Continue reading “How to Find Your Path and Embrace the Detours”

Do You Need to Restore Your Relationship With Creativity?

3 Quick Takeaways from Reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

“Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.” 

Elizabeth Gilbert, from
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Does self-doubt sabotage your creative projects? Would a mindset shift, from lamenting slow progress to celebrating all progress, boost your mood? Yes, you can restore your relationship with creativity. I view all of the advice I read about productivity and creativity through the “Mom-lens.” Whether you’re starting a business, changing careers or changing the world, creativity is an essential ingredient. If you worry that between drop-offs, pick-ups and carrying the mental load, creativity ‘just isn’t for you’ this book will help! Coincidentally, shortly after reading Big Magic, I saw Elizabeth Gilbert give an amazing keynote at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference. 

In the book she blends provocative thinking about the origins of creativity, and how to Continue reading “Do You Need to Restore Your Relationship With Creativity?”

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